What having your health insurance cancelled means for state residents

RBC I As health insurance changes for 2014 take shape, many Coloradans have been mailed notices regarding the cancellation of health insurance policies. The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) wants to address consumer confusion and alarm related to these cancellations.
Since carriers must notify the DOI about these cancellations, the division has been tracking this information.
“Consumers who have questions about these letters or any questions about their health insurance policy should contact the division,” said Commissioner of Insurance Marguerite Salazar. “While some plans are being cancelled, Coloradans have many new options for 2014, due to the strength and competitiveness of our health insurance market.”
Cancellation letters must notify a consumer that the 2013 policy is cancelled, and must also highlight options for new coverage. However, the DOI recognizes that Coloradans may still have questions.
Here is what consumers need to know.
1. Insurance companies remaining in the market are required to give consumers 90 days’ notice before ending a plan as well as the option to buy any other coverage being offered by the company to individuals. Companies leaving the market must provide 180 days’ notice.
2. Insurance companies are canceling plans for many reasons. Some do not meet new federal requirements for benefits, coverage and premiums as outlined in the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act. Other carriers have made business decisions to discontinue plans, as part of normal business operations.
3. Consumers have options. In cancellation letters, companies are required to provide information about all the health insurance options available to consumers — plans from the existing company, other companies and from Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s new marketplace for health insurance.
4. Consumers should take the time to shop around. DOI approved 18 carriers and 541 plans for sale next year, many offered on Connect for Health Colorado. Colorado has a strong, competitive insurance market, and consumers have many choices. For coverage beginning Jan. 1, coverage must be purchased by Dec. 15.
5. Consumers can call DOI for guidance. Anyone with questions about any information provided by an insurance company can call the DOI. The division has trained experts ready to answer consumers’ health insurance questions and provide easy-to-understand information. Call 1-800-930-3745 outside the Denver metro area.
Terminated Health Plans
As of Nov. 1, a total of 23 health insurance carriers have terminated policies in Colorado; 18 carriers in the individual market; and 10 carriers in the small group market. Some carriers offer insurance in both markets, which is why the total is 23 carriers.
Individual Market
1. In the individual market, the policies terminated by the 18 carriers represent 106,083 covered lives.
2. Terminated plans from Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado and Anthem (through its affiliated company, HMO Colorado) represent 75 percent of the covered lives. However, both carriers will offer a significant number of new individual plans in 2014.
3. Kaiser offers 54 plans for 2014 (27 through Connect for Health Colorado, 27 off of the exchange).
4. Anthem (HMO Colorado) offers 29 individual plans for 2014 (14 through Connect for Health Colorado, 15 off of the exchange).
Small Group Market
1. In the small group market, the policies terminated by the 10 carriers represent 143,116 covered lives.
2. Similar to the individual market, terminated plans from Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado and Anthem (through HMO Colorado & Rocky Mountain Hospital & Medical Services) represent 76 percent of the covered lives. Also like the individual market, both carriers will offer a number of small group plans in 2014.
3. Kaiser offers 66 plans for small groups in 2014 (24 through Connect for Health Colorado, 42 off of the exchange).
4. Anthem offers 74 small group plans (five through Connect for Health Colorado, 69 off of the exchange).